Check for meth lab before buying that foreclosure deal

Before buying that foreclosed home that is too good of a deal to pass up, you may want to first check if it was a meth lab.

No kidding. A recent New York Times story detailed how families are getting sick because they moved into homes that were previously used for making methamphetamine. The drug and the ingredients used to make it are so toxic that they seep into walls, vents, carpets and other areas, and take a costly and thorough scrubbing before the house can be habitable.

The story reports that meth lab seizures have risen nationally for the first time since 2003, and that federal data on such seizures suggests there are tens of thousands of contaminated residences in the United States.

"The victims include low-income elderly people whose homes are surreptitiously used by relatives or in-laws to make meth, and landlords whose tenants leave them with a toxic mess," the Times story says.

Cleanup can cost $30,000 or more, and it's unlikely you'll be able to track down and collect from the criminal who wold you the house.